A Washington Post-ABC poll released Tuesday finds that the majority of Americans support military action against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist terror group, while also largely disapproving of the job President Obama has done as head of the nation’s foreign policy strategy.
According to the results of the poll, 65% of Americans support bombing the Islamic State’s targets in Syria; a whopping 70% support entering Iraqi airspace to attack the Islamic State. These results coincide with those of similar polls: a YouGov poll released on September 1 showed 63% of Americans support air strikes in Syria against IS. The same poll showed that 62% of Americans opposed military intervention in Syria 12 months earlier, despite the fact that the Syrian Civil War was already raging at that time.
The tide appeared to change in June and July, when the Islamic State’s onslaught against Iraqi Christians and Yazidis began receiving major mainstream media attention. In July, a University of Maryland poll found 61% of Americans felt the Islamic State was sufficiently dangerous enough for the United States to consider working with Iran to eradicate the threat, despite the frayed relationship between the two countries.
The Washington Post notes that the news of significant support for military air strikes does not mean significant support for the ccommander in Chief. In fact, the results of the poll are nothing short of devastating for President Obama, who received his lowest approval rating ever on foreign affairs since the Post and ABC have tracked public opinion on the matter. Only 43% of Americans say President Obama is a “strong leader,” with 56% of Americans disapproving of his handling of international affairs. Foreign policy remains the area in which Obama is receiving his lowest approval ratings, as only 38% of the country approve of the job he is doing on foreign matters.
Americans have begun to call–with increasingly loud tenor–for the United States to intervene to stop the spread of the Islamic State. The group, which boasts significant numbers of jihadists traveling from Western nations to join in the war in Iraq and Syria, has received the most attention from American media after releasing a graphic video of the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Wright Foley, followed by a second, similar, video of the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff. The Islamic State has also placed much of its efforts into using social media to recruit Americans and other Westerners to the cause, releasing videos and magazines in English to provide easy access to English-speaking would-be mujahideen.